Erdogan: Turkey will not withdraw its military from Iraq

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Translated by Ollie Richardson for Fort Russ

10th December, 2015


Turkey is not going to withdraw its troops from the territory of Iraq, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said.

“In 2014 (Prime Minister of Iraq) Haidar al-Abadi visited and asked for help in training military and police. Our military went to Iraq as trainers, their functions are limited to training. The number of instructors may vary depending on the number of trainees. Our Military is not about to withdraw from Iraq,” Erdogan said at a press conference in Ankara on Thursday. He added that on December 21st, Turkey, Kurdish autonomous region of Iraq and the US will hold a meeting to discuss the situation in Iraq.

According to Iraqi government figures, on December 4th, a Turkish tank battalion entered the Iraqi province of Nineveh under the guise of being members of the Kurdish people’s units fighting the terrorists. The Iraqi Foreign Ministry and the Defense Ministry called the Turkish military presence a “hostile action”, which was not agreed beforehand with the authorities.

In turn, Turkey has already explained its plans to send troops to Iraq to protect Turkish instructors who teach the national militia fighters in training camps in Nineveh province.

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